Two of Bridport triathlon’s most decorated athletes were again crowned champions on Saturday.
Southern triathlete Hayden Armstrong secured his third win in five years at the state’s sole Olympic distance event by holding off a fast-finishing Ali Foot, while Launceston’s Kate Pedley led from start to finish to claim her fifth-straight title.
On a day when Trek Segafredo’s new lead rider Richie Porte turned out in the teams’ event, Armstrong trailed former Tassie Devils footballer Adam Derbyshire out of the water but powered on in the bike leg to hit the front.
Foot made impressive work of the 10km run but ultimately finished about 30 seconds shy of his occasional training partner, allowing Armstrong to reclaim the title of reigning champion from Cameron Wurf.
“It was a pretty hard race … Ali Foot is a good friend and a good competitor,” the 39-year-old said.
“We really pushed one another along the way as well so it was really good ... running isn’t my strength and I needed a little bit of real estate because I knew he was going to run me down.
“I wasn’t really sure when I got off the bike if I had enough so it was really good, it was a great race and there’s a good friendship there as well.”
More than 170 athletes took to the Bridport foreshore for what is regularly one of the state’s biggest races, with Armstrong handling the breezy conditions as well as any en route to his second straight state series race win.
“It is a great race ... I think the great thing about Tasmania is we have some wonderful sportspeople both men and women in triathlon,” Armstrong said.
“You don’t have to dig very deep to find some great talent in the state, there’s some world class performers that have come out… you look at Jake Birtwhistle, Cameron Wurf and Joe Gambles as well.
“On the female side you’ve got Kate Pedley who’s a standout performer and a wonderful girl and having Richie Porte there is wonderful for the sport.”
Melissa Clark, who was the last woman to win at Bridport before Pedley’s reign of dominance, ran strongly to finish second with Danika Bumford coming through for third.
Pedley was pleased to come back strong after battling injury last winter.
“It was pretty much my first race of the season, so it was good to get an Olympic distance under my belt and find some confidence and motivation,” said Pedley, who also won last year’s Bridport fun run.
“It’s just got a really nice feel about it Bridport, it’s really well-run, the course is good fun, it’s generally pretty good weather, it’s great for spectators … it suits everyone going from little nippers to the sprint race to Olympic distance.
“It’s a got a really nice vibe and it’s one of my favourite races in Tassie.”
Andrew Rolls and Anna Murton took out the senior male and female Olympic races respectively, while Foot’s cousin Blair Tunevitsch, also an elite rower, finished third.
Sheila Barrett and Nathan Jackson won the veteran Olympic events.
Reigning Launceston Triathlon Club champions Will Blackaby and Ella Boxhall took out the open sprint distance races.
Male: 1. Hayden Armstrong, 2. Ali Foot, 3. Matt Rundle
Female: 1. Kate Pedley, 2. Melissa Clark, 3. Danika Bumford
Male: 1. Will Blackaby, 2. Jack Direen, 3. Ethan Stretton
Female: 1. Ella Boxhall, 2. Millie Chapman, 3. Melissa Britt